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Gearing Question

Old 09-27-18, 06:59 PM
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BirdsBikeBinocs
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Gearing Question

Is high gear the slow gearing on a bike.?? Is low gearing the fast gears of a bike.??

How about 1st gear.... Is that the slowest gear of a bike.?? Is 18,20, 22 the fastest gear on a bike.??

This stuff drives me nuts. I need to learn it once and for all.
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Old 09-27-18, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by BirdsBikeBinocs View Post
Is high gear the slow gearing on a bike.?? Is low gearing the fast gears of a bike.??
Backwards. High gears are the ones you tend to use when going faster, low gears when going slower.

It's called "higher" because the ratio of rear wheel rotations per crank rotation is higher.

If you're on a 44-tooth chainring up front and an 11-tooth cog in back, the ratio is 44/11 = 4. So when pedaling, every time you turn the cranks in a full circle, the rear wheel will spin 4 times.
If you then downshift to a 22-tooth cog in back, the ratio becomes 44/22 = 2. So the rear wheel now spins twice every time you turn the cranks once: a much lower gear,

How about 1st gear.... Is that the slowest gear of a bike.?? Is 18,20, 22 the fastest gear on a bike.??
People mostly don't number their gears like this, because gear ratio counting doesn't convey much information to other cyclists. Two different drivetrains will have wildly different meanings for what "gear 13" is.

The highest gear on my Emonda is when I'm in my 50-tooth chainring up front and 11-tooth cog in back. I call it my highest gear, or I refer to it as fifty-eleven, or some other descriptive term.
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Old 09-27-18, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by BirdsBikeBinocs View Post
I need to learn it once and for all.
If it feels too hard to pedal shift to an easier gear. You don't need to know what they're called.
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Old 09-27-18, 08:54 PM
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Don't obsess on what gear you are in. Just find the one that makes pedaling your trike or bike comfortable. My Catrike 700 has the gear range of a road bike. For me, comfort is almost always in the middle range in front, using the 10 gears on the cassette to find a comfortable cadence. If you asked me, "What gear are you in?" I would have to answer hell if I know.
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Old 09-27-18, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
Backwards. High gears are the ones you tend to use when going faster, low gears when going slower.

It's called "higher" because the ratio of rear wheel rotations per crank rotation is higher.

If you're on a 44-tooth chainring up front and an 11-tooth cog in back, the ratio is 44/11 = 4. So when pedaling, every time you turn the cranks in a full circle, the rear wheel will spin 4 times.
If you then downshift to a 22-tooth cog in back, the ratio becomes 44/22 = 2. So the rear wheel now spins twice every time you turn the cranks once: a much lower gear,


People mostly don't number their gears like this, because gear ratio counting doesn't convey much information to other cyclists. Two different drivetrains will have wildly different meanings for what "gear 13" is.

The highest gear on my Emonda is when I'm in my 50-tooth chainring up front and 11-tooth cog in back. I call it my highest gear, or I refer to it as fifty-eleven, or some other descriptive term.
This is a great post. Thanks a lot.
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Old 09-27-18, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
Don't obsess on what gear you are in. Just find the one that makes pedaling your trike or bike comfortable. My Catrike 700 has the gear range of a road bike. For me, comfort is almost always in the middle range in front, using the 10 gears on the cassette to find a comfortable cadence. If you asked me, "What gear are you in?" I would have to answer hell if I know.
In all due respect you missed my point. My question is, in bicycle talk, what is a high gear or what is a low gear. On occasion people will say... "I was in the highest gear and my bike was making a noise." HTUpolev provided a great explanation. It makes perfect sense.

And yes, I get it that one can't refer to a gear in numerical language. In other words I can't say.... "I was in 12th gear and my bike makes a noise." That would make no sense to anyone and I learned that in HTpolev's post.
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Old 09-27-18, 10:19 PM
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It's just like your car. You don't start out in "high" gear.
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Old 09-28-18, 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by BirdsBikeBinocs View Post
And yes, I get it that one can't refer to a gear in numerical language. In other words I can't say....
Well, you sort of can. Give the rear gears (cassette) numbers, 1 being the biggest, and the front (chainset) letters - L and H (or L, M and H) for Low, (Middle) and High. So you can then say 'I was in 7H and the bike was making a noise'. I grant you, though, that it's not very universal. Of course, if I use L and H for the chainset and someone prefers L(large) and S(mall) then that could get very confusing.
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Old 09-28-18, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by BirdsBikeBinocs View Post
In all due respect you missed my point. My question is, in bicycle talk, what is a high gear or what is a low gear. On occasion people will say... "I was in the highest gear and my bike was making a noise." HTUpolev provided a great explanation. It makes perfect sense.

And yes, I get it that one can't refer to a gear in numerical language. In other words I can't say.... "I was in 12th gear and my bike makes a noise." That would make no sense to anyone and I learned that in HTpolev's post.
High and low are pretty universal because it is basically the same terminology as for cars, but I've had bike shop guys make me specify what I mean because enough people get them confused that they can't take it for granted.
"Bicycle talk" encompasses talk with people of all levels of knowledge, so if I am talking with someone knowledgeable, I will use ratios. If I'm talking to a beginner, I will say high or low, and make sure they understand high means big in the front and small in the back, and the other way around for low. It helps them both know what to call them and helps them understand how they work.

​ I know that is more than you asked for, but as you gain knowledge about bikes, I think it's also useful to know how people pass it on. If you ever ride ride with a kid or a beginner, I hope you find this useful. It's also important to remember that a kid has never driven, so high and low is really meaningless to them, and it's not intuitive that harder to pedal can mean faster.
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Old 09-28-18, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by jgwilliams View Post
Well, you sort of can. ...So you can then say 'I was in 7H and the bike was making a noise'. I grant you, though, that it's not very universal.
Not universal at all. If you have a 7-speed cassette in back, that might be your high gear. but if you have an 11-speed, it'll be almost in the middle of the range. And that "7" gear might be anything from a 17 tooth gear to a 36 tooth gear. So, still not very useful.
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Old 09-28-18, 05:17 PM
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BirdsBikeBinocs
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Originally Posted by Jon T View Post
It's just like your car. You don't start out in "high" gear.
Jon
Oohhh... Another great reply.!! Very simple to remember. Thanks.
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Old 09-29-18, 03:32 PM
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Daft I know but I still have to really think about it and always got it the wrong way round to the extent it's habit ... I think it's partially because I cycled way before i could drive and it just became ingrained.
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Old 09-29-18, 03:40 PM
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I always remembered that LOW is SLOW
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